I was an 18 year old high school senior when Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold walked into their own school in Aurora, Colorado, and killed 15 of their classmates while injuring another 21.
That was when the NRA established the playbook for dealing with mass shootings in our schools: blame something – anything – else, and then run down the clock.
They blamed rock music and video games for the Columbine massacre. By the time Adam Lanza killed 20 6-year-olds in Newtown, Connecticut, America’s (truly) abysmal record of mental health care was to blame. In the aftermath of the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High last month, they blamed… there not being enough guns in schools.
I applaud the survivors of the Parkland, Florida shooting for rewriting the playbook. Republican politicians and their paymasters in the NRA have frantically tried to change the topic to anything other than how easy it is to get a gun in this country. They’re trying to blame students themselves now – we need to be nicer to alienated students so that they don’t turn into the next mass shooter.
Being nice to people is always a good idea. But bullying doesn’t cause mass shootings. They have bullying in schools in Japan and Australia and Britain and France and Germany and lots of other places, but strangely enough those other countries don’t have a problem with repeated mass killings of children.
I support the following to get started:
- Reinstating the federal ban on assault weapons, following legislation in California that defines an “assault weapon” as any firearm that has at least one of a list of military-grade features.
- Strict limits on magazine / clip size, at 10 rounds.
- An immediate ban on “bump stocks,” or any other device using recoil on a semiautomatic weapon to turn it into a fully-automatic weapon.
- Ending the “gun show loophole” on transfers of existing firearms.